Oak Park chooses a5 to market business campaign

Staff to begin drafting a contractual agreement

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

The Oak Park Village Board of Trustees has chosen the firm a5 Branding & Digital over Prescott Group to lead its business support campaign. The board made the decision during a Nov. 23 meeting, where Trustee Deno Andrews praised both proposals as being "both strong" and "both well thought out."

The a5 proposal came to the board with the approval of the small business taskforce, created to help support the business community during COVID-19. The taskforce consists of local business owners, members of the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation and Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce personnel.

"There was a strong consensus that the village choose and fund the a5 proposal," Andrews said of the taskforce, which met prior to the meeting to discuss both proposals. While Andrews and Trustee Simone Boutet represent the board of trustees on the taskforce, they did not participate in the taskforce's decision to recommend the a5 proposal over Prescott Group's.  

"That consensus was strictly the businessowners on the taskforce, independent of our opinions," said Andrews. "Simone and I felt strongly that, if we're going to have a vote tonight here at the board table, then we shouldn't necessarily have a vote at the taskforce."

Boutet stated that, while both firms have Oak Park roots and relationships with the village, a5 provides the branding and digital marketing that the business community wants, whereas Prescott Group is more of a public relations and communications firm.

Andrews told the board he preferred the a5 proposal for its flexibility, timing and for being more cost effective.

"There's a significant difference in cost, where a5 is much, much, much cheaper," said Boutet. 

Both proposals included estimated budgets. The Prescott Group estimated budget had a total of cost of $105,575. Contributing to that number were the costs to design and launch a website, the costs for marketing and advertising, as well as the cost to carry out novel shopping programs, including contests, draws, gift cards and buy-one-get-one-free promotions. 

 While a5 included a range of costs on the high end, the total amount equaled $45,250. That number is inclusive of marketing, a5 fees, website design and launch. A5's budget went into less detail than Prescott Group's.

According to Boutet, there was also room to negotiate lower costs with a5, given that a5 President John Harris lives in Oak Park.

"They said they would discount their fees," said Boutet.

While the board agreed to choose a5 as the provider to create and execute a marketing plan to promote and support local businesses, the board opted to cap the amount able to be spent on the project at $30,000 with the option for staff to invest another $10,000 if deemed necessary.

The board chose a5 in a unanimous vote. According to Village Manager Cara Pavlicek, staff will draft an agreement with a5 and negotiate not-to-exceed amounts.

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Kitty Conklin  

Posted: December 2nd, 2020 6:21 AM

So a mere 2 years ago, Oak Park taxpayers had the privilege of funding a rebranding effort which involved hiring and paying Sasaki to come up with new ideas. Now taxpayers get to fund another effort to buy a different twist on the same concept. Where is the Sasaki work in this new spend? It sure wasn't included in the 11/23/20 VOP Board Meeting Agenda. Quit wasting money! https://www.sasaki.com/projects/village-of-oak-park-place-branding/

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